Community volunteers plant the banks of Hydro Hill West Creek with native vegetation and log placements to provide shade and cover for Pacific salmon habitat near Ucluelet in the spring of 2019. The project is partly funded through the $143-million Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, which the province wants Ottawa to double. (Photo supplied by Rob Crenson)

Community volunteers plant the banks of Hydro Hill West Creek with native vegetation and log placements to provide shade and cover for Pacific salmon habitat near Ucluelet in the spring of 2019. The project is partly funded through the $143-million Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, which the province wants Ottawa to double. (Photo supplied by Rob Crenson)

B.C. government makes big commitments to fish and habitat conservation

Province’s first parliamentary secretary for fisheries and aquaculture given strong mandates

The B.C. NDP is sending strong signals fisheries management and habitat conservation will play a bigger role in government decisions.

Fishing groups and conservation advocates pushing for a new, dedicated provincial ministry to fisheries to tackle a myriad of issues, notably the worst salmon returns on record, expressed some disappointment when Premier John Horgan unveiled his new cabinet last week without the announcement of a new ministry, but not without praising the government for some positive steps forward.

Chief among them is the newly named ministry of agriculture, food and fisheries (formally just agriculture), a symbolic but important action that comes with the creation of a parliamentary secretary for fisheries and aquaculture, Fin Donnelly. The former federal Member of Parliament has a track record for introducing bills and forming non-partisan alliances aimed at protecting ocean health.

READ MORE: Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

“He’s a very capable person for the new role in B.C.,” Aaron Hill, executive director of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society said. “The important thing is the ministry be given the latitude and resources they need to do their job. Wild salmon management in this province has been hampered for a long time because of the siloing between ministries. The creation of a new ministry probably wouldn’t solve that, but a parliamentary secretary role could be great, as long as Donnelly makes a point of breaking through.”

That is especially crucial for fulfilling the mandate of working closely with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on new mandates to step up protection of fish habitat through a new biodiversity strategy and the creation of a a Watershed Security Strategy.

Donnelly also has a mandate to support the new Minister of State for Lands and Natural Resources, Nathan Cullen, to develop a new provincial coastal strategy that better protects marine habitat while growing coastal economies.

Lastly, the ministry has also been asked to maintain its work with the federal government to develop new strategies to revitalize B.C.’s wild salmon populations, but also push to double the five-year, $143-million Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, split 30 per cent and 70 per cent by the provincial and federal governments respectively.

READ MORE: You want me to eat what? A look at some of B.C.’s most exotic seafoods



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Fish

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The BCJALL draft was held on Thursday evening.
Maple Ridge’s Malawsky picked first overall in BCJALL draft

Burrards midgets again dominate the Junior A midget draft

About 150 guests attended the 16th annual Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. (The News files)
Parker Kaumi, 6, and his mother, Lauren, baked cookies to raise money for the Canucks Autism Network. (Chris Kaumi/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge mother and son bake cookies for Canucks Autism Network

Raise $1,200 for the organization that offers activities and programs to children and youth with autism

If you have a letter you’d like to submit to the editor for consideration, please email us at <a href="mailto:editor@mapleridgenews.com"><strong>editor@mapleridgenews.com</strong></a>. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
LETTER: ‘Maybe it’s time for a long second look’

Good news and more bad news on the Site C project and billions being spent to make it happen

Food For The Soul is offering support for the homeless population from its store on the Lougheed Highway in downtown Maple Ridge. (The News files)
LETTER: Maple Ridge’s Food For The Soul Project doing great work

Society working with homeless population in the community

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Most Read